1. National pride in America’s virtue and uniqueness.
This pride, almost our national religion has “persisted remarkably intact over the 150 years” since French political thinker Alex de Tocqueville published Democracy in America (1835 and 1840)
“Nowhere else was there the extradorinary unanimity displayed by the Americans in singling out their political and governmental institutions as special objects of price,” Inkeles said.
Benjamin Franklin extolled this kind of homely virtue (including autonomy, independence, persistence and initiative) in pre-Revolutionary days, and de Tocqueville cited individualism and self-reliance as distinctive American traits in 1830.
Two-thirds to three-fourths of American blue-collar workers at the time of the study affirmed the same principle:”What happens to me is my own doing.”
Americans are joiners. They feel obligated to take part in community action.
Many others reported on the openness and friendliness of Americans, their casualness and spontaneity in chance encounters.
Inkeles said the evidence showing that “a high degree of interersonal trust to be an outstanding characteristic of the contemporary American is quite extensive andd notably consistent.”
5. “Can-Do” Attitude.
A sense of being effective of being able to improve the physical and social world prevails.
Americans have confidence that striving toward a goal leads to success.
Openness to new experiences and ideas is a hallmark of the American character.
The notion of welcoming and pursuing change is commonplace.
This is an almost innate birthright, carrying no psychic need to submit to higher political authority.
A sense that one’s intrinsic worth is the same as anyone else’s is a basic American trait.
Inkeles also noted other American attributes, including restless energy, pragmatism, a tendency towad brashness and boastfulness, a preference for the contrete and a certain discomfort with aesthetic and emotional expression.
Courtesy of Carolina Country, November 2011